Dallas IFF 2013: Austin and Texas Films


The Bounceback

This year's Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF) kicks off tomorrow night and runs through April 14. Many familiar faces and movies have made their way there from Sundance and SXSW, not to mention Austin Film Festival. In addition, the film festival will debut movies with local and state connections, some as part of the Texas Competition, a juried competition of films either shot in or relating to the Lone Star State.

Austinite Jeff Nichols' movie Mud screens on Friday, April 5, as part of the Premiere Series at DIFF -- read my review from Sundance. This engaging and mystical tale features Austin native Matthew McConaughey and Tye Sheridan from Eckhart, Texas, with music by local composer David Wingo and sound by Austin's Stuck On On.

Here are all the other films we found with Austin and Texas connections -- let us know if we're missing anything.

  • The Bounceback (Don's review) (screening times)
    Austin filmmaker and two-time Independent Spirit award nominee Bryan Poyser's latest feature shows us that breaking up can be even more difficult if your ex hasn't given up and is willing to travel many miles in the hopes of making up. It's even harder when your friends who are breaking up try to keep you apart as well. (Elizabeth's interview)
  • Buck Wild (screening times)
    Filmed in Goliad, Texas, this campy horror flick by University of Texas at Austin film alum Tyler Glodt shows what happens when a hunting vacation goes wrong. A group of friends must deal with gangsters and zombies after accidentally shooting a deer lease's landowner. The screenings are co-presented by Texas Frightmare Weekend.
  • Rising From Ashes (Elizabeth's AFF review) (screening times)
    Cycling legend Jock Boyer helps build a national cycling team in Rwanda, Africa, twenty years after the mass genocide of native people has left the survivors with painful memories. This powerful documentary narrated by Forest Whitaker was co-produced by Gratis 7 Media Group, a nonprofit group now based in Austin, Texas -- founder and filmmaker T.C. Johnstone and producer Greg Kwedar live in Austin.
  • Champion (screening times)
    San Antonio filmmakers Kevin and Robin Nations direct this family film about an urban teenager who discovers her potential on a rural ranch with the help of her new friend Scout, a discarded cattle dog.
  • Cry  (screening times)
    Dallas-born Clay Luther makes his feature debut with this story of two men -- recent widower Cable who awaits his final moments and bullied teenager Carson -- and how their interaction may help them both look to a brighter future.
  • Good Night (Debbie's review) (screening times)
    Austin director Sean Gallagher's tale of how love and friendships can lead to the ultimate sacrifice for Leigh (Adriene Mishler), a young woman prematurely facing death. How each of her friends react to her shocking news reveals more about their friendships. Filmed just outside Austin with local cast and crew including Jonny Mars, Chris Doubek and Alex Karpovsky. (Elizabeth's interview)
  • Lord Montagu (screening times)
    Former Dallasite and Austinite Luke Korem directed this film about one of the most controversial British aristocrat who made his estate into a tourist attraction. This biopic was co-written by Austin filmmaker Bradley Jackson (The Man Who Never Cried) and Austin actor/producer Russell Wayne Groves.
  • Pit Stop (Debbie's review) (screening times)
    Filmed and set in Texas, this drama directed by Dallas-based filmmaker Yen Tan paints a portrait of multiple lovers recovering from loss. After an affair with a married man, Gabe finds solace in the lasting love of his daughter and ex-wife (Amy Seimetz), while on the other side of town, Ernesto (Marcus DeAnda) spends his free time in the hospital caring for a past love trapped in a coma. This understated and subtly paced film gives us a glimpse into the bittersweet experience of two gay men living in a small Texas town. The film cast includes Jonny Mars, Heather Kafka, and Robert Merriman, with Dallas cinematographer Hutch and produced by Austin's own Kelly Williams and Dallas filmmaker James M. Johnston.
  • Rushlights  (screening times)
    Directed by Antoni Stutz, this film is described in the press release as "a riveting psychological thriller with a teenage twist, Rushlights revolves around two delinquent young lovers from the suburbs of Los Angeles, traveling to a small Texas town to falsely claim a dead friend's inheritance." This film appears to be based but not actually filmed in Texas.
  • This Is Where We Live (screening times
    Directed by Josh Barrett and native Texan Marc Menchaca, this drama set in the Texas Hill Country revolves around a family dealing with health issues. Diane is caregiver to her son August, who suffers from cerebal palsy, and her husband who is plagued with early onset of Alzheimer's disease. Their world changes when a handyman comes to help the family in more ways then expected. This Is Where We Live was filmed in Llano and nearby small town of Pontonoc.
  • Tomlinson Hill  (screening times)
    Dallas filmmaker Lisa Kaselak, former aGLIFF programming director, has made this documentary named for a former Texas slave plantation located just south of Waco, outside the small town of Marlin. 150 years of class separation has impacted this dying community. The struggle to keep and unify this community is demonstrated through direct descendants of both white and black races, through Chris Tomlinson and Loreane Tomlinson.

Two Austin shorts in the competition program that I saw at Park City earlier this year are Kat Candler's Black Metal (screening times), starring Jonny Mars and Heather Kafka, and writer/director Andy Irvine's Hearts of Napalm (screening times) starring Austin actors Ashley Spillers and Alex Dobrenko.

In addition, the short Slash by writer/director Clay Liford (Wuss) is premiering at Dallas IFF (screening times). The Austin-shot film is about a 13-year-old Harry Potter fan who decides to write his own erotic fan fiction. The cast includes local filmmaker Emily Hagins (Grow Up Tony Phillips), Nate Rubin (Wuss), Sam Eidson (Zero Charisma), and Arthur Dale (Hellion, Grow Up Tony Phillips).

Keep an eye out later this week for my coverage from Dallas, as I'll be there during the first part of the festival.